Todd County Kentucky Genealogy

The county thus organized and named is situated in the southern part of the State, on the Tennessee line, and in the eastern border of that section of Kentucky arbitrarily called the Southwest. It is bounded on the north by Muhlenburg County, east by Logan, south by Montgomery, in State of Tennessee, and west by Christian, and contains about 330 square miles. The county lies partly in the Green River Valley, and partly in that of the Cumberland River, and represents the characteristics of both valleys. The dividing line between these valleys passes in a northwesterly direction through Todd several miles above Elkton, throwing the northern portion into the ” Green River Country,” and the southern in the Cumberland Valley. Curiously enough, in this county, the characteristics of these valleys are transposed; the Green River portion is broken and underlaid by freestone, and lies within the mineral belt, while the lower part belongs to the cavernous limestone’ formation, and possesses those rich agricultural characteristics which have made the Green River Country famous as the great wheat producing area of the State. The Russellville and Hopkinsville road, passing northwesterly through Elkton, forms the general dividing line between these two sections. South from this the surface is a gently rolling expanse of arable country, with little timber and much lowland, ‘which for the lack of good artificial drainage is much of the year under water. North of this road the surface begins immediately to show the gradual rise and broken character which in the farther limits of the county develops into almost impassable cliffs, rising abruptly to the height of 300 feet in places. The main stream of the county is the Elk Fork of Red River; this taking its origin in Nance Creek and Sampson’s Branch, just north of Elkton, flows a southeasterly course to Allensville, flows thence in a more southerly direction, and crossing the Tennessee line forms the corner from which the lines of the county are projected. Three and five miles above the point where the Russellville and Hopkinsville road crosses the east line of Todd County, Double Lick Fork and Breathitt’s Branch cross into Logan County to form the Whippoorwill, and drain that portion of the country between Elkton and the dividing ridge northeast of the county rural picturesqueness is not excelled by any other locality in the State. The visitor is shown many places of natural interest, and others about which tradition or the vivid imagination of a later day has framed ” legends strange to hear.” The ” Narrows ” is a natural wagon trail-the only one by which the rocky barrier may be passed in many miles of its extent, which affords a good opportunity to gain some idea of it as an obstacle to travel. Sweating stones, almost as phenomenal as the sweating statue of old, are pointed out. These are vast masses of rock standing high up from the ground, in isolated positions, the surface of which is continually covered with a moisture so profuse as to drip to the ground in trickling streams. This seems to be the normal condition of these objects, and the ” oldest inhabitant,” who is everywhere noted for his close observation, is said never to have seen them in any other condition. This was suggested by the ” guide ” as typical of the mental state of one who should attempt to gain a livelihood by farming in this portion of the county, but for the fair fame of Todd this impertinent analogy should be scouted. The “Indian Ladder is a luxuriant, wild grapevine which has thrown out its tendrils along the face of the cliff, and grasping one tree or shrub after another has drawn itself with cords of strength from one point to another until it has reached a dizzy height. It is said that it leads to and covers the entrance to a considerable cave which in the olden time afforded shelter to the discomfited savage or a safe outlook to the runner of the tribe. Neither the cave nor the Indian is to be seen from the comfortable footing below it, and the ” evidence of things not seen,” probably rests entirely upon the conscience and imagination of the person who kindly shows up the region to the visitor. Besides these, there are buzzard roosts and dens of fabled monsters (now happily extinct) which, to use the language of the auction bill, are ” too numerous to mention.”

The lowlands of Todd, while of more utility and, therefore, less romantic, are not entirely devoid of natural objects of peculiar interest. Of these Pilot Rock is perhaps the. most striking. This is a vast mass of rock some 200 feet high, resting upon elevated ground and entirely isolated. Its summit is a level area of about half an acre in extent, covered with a small growth of timber and wild shrubbery, and is a pleasant resort, frequented by picnic parties from the neighboring country. It stands north of Fairview on the line between Christian and Todd Counties, the larger portion of the rock lying within the limits of the latter. Its elevated summit, which is gained without much difficulty, affords a fine view of the surrounding country for many. miles, presenting a prospect beautiful and picturesque. In the leafless season and a favoring atmosphere, it is said Hopkinsville, twelve miles away, may be distinctly seen from its summit, and in pioneer days it was known far and wide as an infallible landmark, hence its name. The cavernous limestone shows here the characteristics to be found elsewhere. Sink-holes are frequently found, but none of such character as to render them objects of especial interest. The tunneling of the Elk Fork a few miles in its course below Elkton, is characteristic of the rock formation found here. At the point where the river sinks out of sight, it originally flowed around and at the foot of a mass of rock some fifty feet high. A fissure made in its rock bed some forty feet from the base of the cliff, gave the water opportunity to burrow an underground passage which, gradually enlarging, has afforded passage for an increasing volume of water. Save in a very low stage of water a part of the river finds passage by its old course; the rest, dropping through the fissure in the bed, passes for several hundred yards under the obstructing mass of rock. The contracted form of the opening causes the descending water to take the form and bustle of a whirlpool, but it evidently falls to no great depth as it emerges into the open country without the precipitation of a spring, with a smooth, gliding motion which is gained in the short passage.


New Todd County Kentucky Genealogy

War with Mexico

The four greater wars of this country mark the four stages of its development as a nation. Of these, the first two were waged for its existence as an independent power, and the rights due such independent state in the high court of nations, objects which commanded the united support of the people. The Federal party in national politics did indeed make a vigorous protest against the war with England in 1812, on the ground that it gave ostensible support to the French Revolution, a political movement that in the name of liberty perpetrated the most horrible outrages. against freedom;…

Trenton Precinct, Todd County, Kentucky

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT No. 5, commonly known as Trenton, lies in the southwestern portion of the county, and is the largest one. It is bounded on the north by the Fairview District, on the east by Guthrie and Allensville Districts, on the south by Tennessee, and on the west by Christian County. The topography of the district is somewhat varied. In the south the land is quite flat, through the central portion it is rolling, and in the northern rather hilly. Here in several places the cavernous limestone comes to the surface. On the old Childs farm there is a cave…

Traces Of The Earliest Inhabitants

IT is an interesting suggestion of the archaeologist, that this land, which on the coming of the whites was too forbidding for the habitation of the Indian, centuries before was the home of a race of beings possessing some approach to civilization. The discovery of footprints upon his deserted island by Robinson Crusoe was not more startling than the discoveries of archaeologists to the followers of Petarius and Usher, who place the operations of creation and the whole evolution of civilization within the narrow limits of a few centuries. But science has multiplied its evidence until there is no room…

Town of Trenton, Todd County, Kentucky

Trenton, laid out by Lewis Leavell in 1819, expanded with Lawson & Col-well’s addition in 1867, and further by the Legislature in 1883-84. Notable early merchants included Reyburn & Woods, Poston & Garth, and Rutherford Bros. A tobacco-stemmery and the Bank of Trenton, established in the mid-1800s and 1874 respectively, contributed to its economy. The Trenton Academy and two churches—Trenton Baptist, organized in 1859, and Trenton Methodist Episcopal Church South, founded in 1874—played significant roles in the community’s educational and spiritual life.

Town of Elkton

On the 8th day of May, 1820, the county seat of Todd County was located at Elkton. With this the history of the town properly commences, although in March, 1819, Thomas Garvin and Thomas Jameson laid out the original plat of the town. This plat was recorded in the Christian County Court, and consisted of about eighteen lots. The first addition to the town of Elkton, after it had been made the county seat, was that of John Gray, which was made and recorded on Nov. 16, 1820. This addition lay west of the original plat, and consisted of 251…

Todd County, Kentucky Timber

Forests in western Kentucky are diverse, with rare coniferous trees except swamp cypress. Frequent burnings in southern Todd once inhibited timber growth. Prof. Shaler notes chestnut and white oak don’t reappear after fires. The forest composition changes across geological formations, with some high-quality timbers like black ash and white oak thriving on certain soils near waterways. As one moves towards Elkton, timber distribution varies with soil composition, favoring large tree growth on Chester sandstone-capped hilltops.

Todd County, Kentucky Pioneers

Early settlers immigrated to Kentucky’s bluegrass region, with adventurers founding Davis Station and Cartwright’s settlement in 1792. Despite Native American resistance, settlements like Cartwright’s persevered. Pioneers, including Revolutionary War veterans, faced hardships and frontier challenges. Jefferson Davis was born in a notable tavern-keeping family in Fairview. By 1811, immigration surged from North Carolina, transforming the region’s landscape and setting foundations for towns and infrastructure.

Todd County, Kentucky Indians

Scientists have yet to conclusively determine the relationship between Native Americans and the ancient Mound-Builders. Despite varying hypotheses and archaeological evidence, Native Americans are largely considered an independent race and the successors of the Mound-Builders. In Todd County, Kentucky, early settlements were notably peaceful with little evidence of conflict with Native Americans, unlike other regions during the same period. This peace contributed positively to the settlers’ success, though it offers few dramatic historical narratives.

Todd County, Kentucky Agriculture

Todd County, historically an agricultural area, favored tobacco farming due to settlers’ old practices and reliance on this cash crop for income. Yet, this led to soil depletion, necessitated crop rotation, and introduced other farming methods. Tobacco remains key, grown with care, despite its demanding nature and fluctuating profits. Corn has become important, feeding livestock rather than laborers, signaling a shift towards mixed farming and increased grain production. Post-war, stock-raising gained traction, alongside a maintained interest in horse breeding, with some efforts to improve cattle breeds. Modern agriculture now includes mixed grass meadows, while keeping livestock diversifies the farming landscape…

The Start in a New Country

Early settlers in the American frontier established homes by clearing timberland for crops, using the removed timber to build cabins and fences. Equipped with rudimentary tools and food supplies, they prospected for months to find suitable land, after which families moved to these new homes, often sharing space with others due to communal hospitality. Game and simple crops mostly sustained them, with meat, hominy, and wild fruits as staples. Hunting was both a necessity and a leisure activity, with settlers adept at using rifles and enjoying the thrill of the chase, as exemplified by tales of raising fawns and communal…
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11 thoughts on “Todd County Kentucky Genealogy”

  1. Carolyn Jennett

    The 1870 census of Todd County , Hadensville P.O. Includes William Furnish, age 20, school teacher, b. kY, living in the household of John H. Hooser. William ultimately married Hattie Hooser in Todd Co. in 1872. Family tradition states that William had a boys’ school which burned down. William and Hattie were counted in Lyon County, KY in 1880 where his occupation continued as a teacher. If a school did exist it may have been located in Lyon Co.
    Have you any information about such a school? Newspapers for the area seem non-existent.
    Thank you for considering this question.

  2. I am trying, unsuccessfully, to locate any information on my great grandmother Queen Vashti Martin Murphy. She was married to JW Murphy and had my grandfather Marion F Murphy. I found her mother listed at Drusilla Martin Daniel but no father listed. I am trying to find out if she was born in Kirkmansville or where. Any help would be very greatly appreciated. Kim

    1. Hi there, it seems we are related. Were you able to find any info on your ancestors? I’d love to compare research.

      1. Julie- the Murphy line is a family that married into my Lawrence (Father’s). I haven’t done any real research on them but my email is Let’s connect by email and go from there. I am from Keysburg Logan CO, Allensville Todd CO area with both of my parents. Becky Lawrence Kendall

    2. Hello Kimberly:
      I am a descendent of the same Murphy line in Todd County as Queen Vashti Martin’s husband, John W. Murphy. I researched my ancestors for seven years ending 1996. That was before the internet was really a ‘thing’ so it was much slower going than today. I am now retired and have begun filling in blanks such as extended families like John W. Murphy, and to find documentation for conclusions I had based on the ‘right place at the right time’ method. Not sure how much you have on John’s family or would be interested in knowing from me, so please let me know where you are on that and I would be glad to help if possible.

  3. I am searching for info on Daniel C Jackson 1835-1910 (Trenton Todd Co Ky) married to Martha Moody 1843-1908. He is a cousin but I don’t have any grandparents for him or anyone further back. Parents are John M Jackson/Nancy Redd Daniel.My direct email is Except for this particular family I have an extensive amount of research on the Jackson family and am willing to share. Becky Lawrence Kendall (Jackson,Prince,Bagby,Burchett main lines in Kentucky).

    1. I believe the Daniel C Jackson you are looking for is one of my many great x3 Jackson uncles. His brother, John W Jackson,
      is my great great grandfather and was the only one of this large family who moved away from the area where Daniel and his brothers and sisters lived. He moved to Boone County MO @1859 or so. I have info on this family also and would really appreciate knowing what you have and sharing what I know. I am especially interested in getting past the brick wall I’ve hit. So far the earliest of the Jackson and Daniel families I have are the parents of Daniel and my gg grandfather John W (and the other 7 children), the same names you have – John M Jackson and Nancy Redd Daniel. Where did you find your info? I’ve never found anyone with the same info I have until now.
      I hope to hear from you soon
      M Simone Eichelberger

  4. I’m looking for the black clardy’s families. many of them took on the name after slavery and owe lots of land in the now Fort Campbell,Ky

  5. I am trying to find an obituary of Nannie Shoemake who died in 1955 and is buried in Stokes Community Cemetery. She was a Carter and married to Charles Shoemake.

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